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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Ty’s Story: Charleston Great Ty Storey Returns to Razorback Stadium to Play His Former Team, Part 2

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Note to Readers: This is part two of a five part series on Ty Storey’s return to Fayetteville to play against his former team as quarterback of Western Kentucky University. The series will conclude on November 10, the day after the Razorbacks game with Western Kentucky. The Resident Press would like to thank Ty Storey, Steve Cox, the University of Arkansas, University of Tulsa, Western Kentucky University and others for making this series possible.

Part two of “Ty’s Story” is dedicated to the first Charleston football player, Steve Cox, who played for both the Razorbacks and an opposing school at Razorback Stadium. Ty Storey and Steve Cox, both of Charleston High School, have had and will have the experience of running out of the visitors locker room at Razorback Stadium. In parts three through five, “Ty’s Story” will focus on Ty Storey and his experiences at Arkansas and his game experience as quarterback of Western Kentucky on November 9. The series will conclude on November 10 with coverage of Ty’s game versus Arkansas.

It is a crisp October day and I am on the phone with Steve Cox. As a former student trainer for the Razorbacks in 1977-81, I have been reunited with a friend from the 1979-80 Razorbacks football team that I have not spoken with in 40 years. And after all of the years, and all of the successes of Steve’s careers, he is still the humble, friendly, and approachable guy that I have remembered from 1979.

When I initially contacted Steve to ask him for an interview for this story, he was most gracious and eagerly agreed to the interview. He, however, had just one condition to the interview: he insisted that the focus of the interview center around Ty Storey, and not himself. For anyone who would have heard this request for the first time, they might have been taken back by his humbleness and humility. But, having known Steve to be the same person as a college student and All-American football player, the fact that he remained humble to this day was not surprising. Steve Cox is one of the best persons, not just football players that I have ever known. Steve’s humility has told me countless times that he did not want this story to overshadow Ty’s part of the story; that is the kind of person Steve is to all who know him. As the author of this series, I felt like his story was an important historical reference to Ty’s experience this Saturday, and it is a story that the people of Charleston would like to hear. Steve’s story is about not only his experiences, but his gratitude to his family and the people of Charleston for giving him the opportunity to experience the events and milestones that he feels so fortunate to have enjoyed. It was important to me that our readers not only learn of Steve’s accomplishments, but also know of his love and appreciation for everyone in Charleston who helped him have these experiences. Finally, this series is about Ty Storey, and just as in Steve’s case, things may not always work out at first, but that does not mean that great things do not await Ty Storey. As Steve says later on, Ty will be a success in life at whatever he chooses to do. That is what today’s article is all about.

When Steve was about to graduate from Charleston High School, he wanted to play for Arkansas, but the Razorbacks had All-American kicker Steve Little. As a child, Steve watched Razorbacks All-American kicker Bill McClard who kicked for Arkansas in the late 1960s, including a 60-yard, then NCAA record field goal McClard made in 1970. Steve says McClard had a profound effect on his desire to be a college kicker.

The Razorbacks were coming off a huge victory over the nationally second-ranked Texas A&M Aggies in Little Rock to earn a share of the Southwest Conference championship, and a Cotton Bowl victory on New Year’s day against Georgia. Reflecting upon the events that happened during that time, it brought Steve back to his childhood days in Charleston. Steve said, “One of the best things my parents ever did was to move my family to Charleston. People there were always welcoming, inclusive, approachable, and really nice to us as a family. I came there as a sixth grader, and I remember. One thing God has blessed me with is a memory, a good memory. I remember one of my teachers telling me in grade school, she’s Alice Gibbons, she always told us to capture things and to remember. She said, people like your grandparents, and other people who are dear to you will be with you for the rest of your life if you capture them. So, I always made a habit of capturing memories. I remember all those times in Charleston and moving there as a sixth grader that the guys I met, the guys who were my friends. I remember pushing my lawn mower and gas can down the roads and mowing yards, and I even remember all the people who I mowed yards for. I just have that in my memory. Then every summer, my friends and I would go out and haul hay, Darrel Keith, Charley Meisner, guys that are still around Charleston. Just guys that are great friends of mine to this day. Teachers that influenced me were so magnificent, and my coaches, Charley Tadlock and Jim Simmons, who were two different men and had different styles. But I really gained a lot of things from each one of them. Guy Fenter, our superintendent, was great to me. Just those kinds of people are vivid in my memory, but I think all of us can talk about teachers and coaches and people who have influenced, but there were a lot of people in the Charleston community that did, as well. Neighbors who were good to me. I kicked footballs in my back yard and it got to where I was kicking too long for the yard and it seemed like I would kick into one neighbor’s yard and then into another’s yard, and they were always so nice and so supportive. Never, never getting on to me. They would always encourage me. I remember all those people. Then my dad started taking me up to the football field and I think that’s when Coach Tadlock started seeing me kick, even as a sixth or seventh grader. He knew I could kick really well. So, my ninth grade year they asked me to kick for the senior high team, and that was a great honor. But I had to play with guys that were older than me. I wasn’t always the most talented, not always the best, but I just had good fortune and I had a father who worked with me, and coaches and teammates who were great to me. But coming out of high school I was not heavily recruited like Ty Storey. Ty was heavily recruited. First of all, I was just a kicker. That was before people were really focused on kickers. I remember my father telling me one time when I was in punt, pass, and kick (Ford Motor Company’s National Punt, Pass, and Kick program) that it looked like to him that sometime in the future kickers will specialize because everybody kicked backed then. They would take a guy from any position and make a kicker or punter out of them. My father said I think one day that these guys (kickers) will be specialists, and there will be more emphasis placed on those positions.”

Steve’s father, Mr. Joe Cox, played an instrumental part in Steve’s life. Mr. Cox worked with Steve for countless hours as a young boy as Steve learned to kick. “I wish my father had a dime for every ball he chased for me up at Alumni Field. He was out there with me everyday kicking. He worked for ARKLA Gas and went to work early and got off work about the time I got out of school, so, we could always go out there after I got out of school. He was THE reason, the sole reason, and the sole inspiration to me, and I bet people will tell you that there were very few times they saw me up at that football field when my father wasn’t with me.” He would shag balls for Steve, one after the other, as Steve would work to perfect his kicking. Mr. Cox became Steve’s unofficial kicking coach, a role that Steve would cherish all of his career, including his tenure in the NFL.

As a Charleston Tiger, Steve was an All-State kicker and punter. He kicked longest field goals of 51 and 53 yards while playing for Charleston. As a senior, he was also an All-State basketball player for Charleston, averaging 20 points per game.

Talking about coming out of high school, Steve said he was pretty much unknown to the college football programs. ” I came out of high school pretty much unknown and I was recruited by a couple of schools, but really hard by Tulsa University. Arkansas came down (visited Steve at Charleston High School) and wanted me to walk-on, but they had Steve Little at the time, who was a great kicker, an All-American, and he had two years remaining. So, I chose Tulsa because I knew I could kick immediately. That was big to me. I really didn’t want to sit around for two years and wait, when I knew I could probably go out there and kick immediately.”

Steve Cox, 1976. Photo Courtesy of University of Tulsa. Permission Granted by University of Tulsa Athletic Dept. Media Relations

Arkansas was ranked 12th nationally on September 25, 1976 when Tulsa came to Fayetteville to play the Razorbacks. The Golden Hurricane upset Arkansas that day 9-3 behind three field goals by Steve Cox. Steve and another Arkansas high school player, Ronnie Hickerson of Texarkana, played quarterback and was Steve’s holder on field goal attempts for Tulsa that day in the upset at Razorback Stadium. “I remember that day, the very locker room we were in, the visiting locker room, which wound up being the locker room I was in at Arkansas, they changed them up after I got to Arkansas, but I was in the visitors locker room on the west side of the Broyles Complex. We were sitting there, getting ready for the game, head coaches talk, and I could look up through this enormous window that was above the doors we would go out and I could see the bleachers which were really high and I could see they were already filling up. I thought, man, this is really it. This is a special day. I had butterflies. I was nervous and anxious. I remember going out and warming up and it was band day. I remember the bands being on the field in the end zone while I was warming up. It was ironic to me that just a few months before I had been playing high school football for Charleston. Now, these high school bands are out there. I may not have been playing for the Razorbacks, but I was on the field I had always dreamed of playing on. That was a big day for me. But, I was the product of a lot of good fortune that day. We had four or five other guys from Arkansas on that team. So, it was big to a lot more people than just me (to be playing at Razorback Stadium). I was the beneficiary of a really good offense that didn’t turn the ball over, and that is a good thing to have as a punter. I had a great defense. People forget that there were probably six players on the Tulsa defense that were later in pro camps that next summer. That defense kept the Razorbacks out of the end zone that day”

As another point of irony in Steve’s story, the Arkansas kicker, Steve Little, attempted five field goals that day and only connected on one of them. The kicker that Arkansas wanted as a walk on behind Little, connected on three to beat the Razorbacks. “Steve (Little) did not have a good day. He missed four field goals that day. I remember I went down and kicked a really short field goal, probably 35-40 yards, then they get the ball and he kicks like a 60 yarder. I remember just thinking, gosh, this guy is really as good as they say. Then the next time we get the ball, I kick another 40-something yarder. Finally, they get the ball and drive all the way down to our one yard line, and our great defense stopped them. They send Steve (Little) in to try a 18 yard field goal, and he missed it. I went on to hit another one that day, and Little went on and missed three more. So, the great defense won the game. You only allow a team to score 3 points and you can win a game. All those things aligned for Tulsa to win that day, and that is what has to happen.”

Steve did not go to Tulsa with the idea that he would eventually transfer to Arkansas. “I was fully committed to stay there (Tulsa). Tulsa put a lot of people in the pros. They were really good at that. Steve Largeant (NFL Hall of Fame receiver from Tulsa and played for the Seattle Seahwaks) had just graduated. They had put their share of people in the pros. Let’s just be honest, it was my best opportunity. I didn’t have a lot of opportunities coming out of high school. I wasn’t highly recruited.”

In 1977, our coach (Tulsa coach F.A. Dry) left to take the head coaching job at TCU and he took his whole staff with him. John Cooper (later to become the Ohio State coach in 1985) came in and was on his way up (in the coaching ranks nationally). He came in and we had lost a lot of players and we had some issues, we were not winning. We had gone from like 7-4, 8-3, to like 3-8. I had gone from not attempting a lot of field goals to not many at all. So, I knew that Steve Little had played out his eligibility at Arkansas and he had been drafted by the NFL. I looked at a lot of great kickers coming out of the Southwest Conference (Russell Erxleben, Texas, Tony Franklin, Texas A&M) at the time, and I thought that it may be best for me to change. Here is a conference (Southwest Conference) that is putting a lot of guys into the pros, and I may be heading in the wrong direction over here (Tulsa) as far as my opportunities. So, I visited with my father about it. I visited with coach Charles Tadlock about it. I really depended upon a lot of people I trusted with it, including the community of Charleston about it, confidentially. There were people I depended upon that advised me in town that I could trust and had confidence in that I really leaned on. It wasn’t just my father and my head football coach in high school. It was a big move for me. I was giving up a scholarship at a fine university. Tulsa University is a fine university. It was a big step for me. So, I made the decision to transfer. Back then, you had to lay out a year. Tulsa would not release me (from his athletic scholarship), so I had to go to the University of Arkansas and pay my way to school for a year. It was something my parents and I had talked about and was willing to do. At Tulsa, it was all paid for, but I made that sacrifice and commitment to go to Arkansas.”

The Razorbacks, at that time under new head football coach Lou Holtz, did not initially reach out to Steve to recruit him to transfer to Arkansas. “I reached out to them because it would have been an infraction (NCAA rules violation) if they had done it to me. But, I reached out to them and they told me that I would have to get a release from Tulsa before they could talk to me. They did everything by the book. I transferred over and started, and was classified as a walk-on (was not given an athletic scholarship).” Arkansas later placed Cox on an athletic scholarship in 1979.

Steve Cox Punts for Arkansas at War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock. (Photo provided and published with permission from Steve Cox)

Steve felt confident he could kick for the Razorbacks and in the Southwest Conference with the other great kickers of that era. “I could punt and kick, do both, and the year I was sitting out, they had a really good kicker that had taken Steve’s (Little) place, Ish Ordonez. While I was sitting out, he set a new Southwest Conference record of making 16 field goals in a row, and I went, wow, it’s going to be a little bit more difficult to get this job than I thought! Ish is a good friend of mine. We competed against each other, but we were really close. I competed for the punting and the kicking job. They wanted me to kick field goals, and I did the first game. Then our punter, had to have an emergency appendectomy, Bruce Lahay, he was an All-American too, but he had the surgery and I ended up punting, and it really came natural to me. So, Ish assumed the field goals duty, and I did the punting, kicking off, and the long field goals. There again, I just kind of had some good fortune.”

I started punting in the punt, pass and kick program as a kid. “My father made all of that possible (taking Steve to compete in PPK Program ages 8-11; was national semi-finalist at age 11).” I knew how to punt. I punted all through high school, and I was the back-up punter for Tulsa. Tulsa had a great punter that ended up punting for the New England Patriots. So, I had experience punting, just not at that level.”

Steve Cox, Age 11, at Ford Motor Co. Punt, Pass, and Kick Competition, Tulane Stadium, New Orleans (Photo published with permission from Steve Cox)

Steve’s first game as a punter was against Oklahoma State in Little Rock. “I had a really productive game and then I was on my way. That year I was third in the nation, then I led the Southwest Conference in punting and made All-Southwest Conference. There were some darn good punters in that league. I remember at least three or four punters from that league going pro.”

On September 1, 1980, Steve went back to punt from his own end zone against Texas “I was punting three yards deep out of our end zone and we downed it on the Texas one yard line. The guy (punt returner) was playing me probably 65 yards deep from the line of scrimmage. I looked up and thought, man, he’s really playing me deep. The ball came down right in front of him, bounced really high, and just took off. We downed it on their one yard line. So, we were punting out of our own end zone and we downed it on their one. It was like an 86 yard punt from the line of scrimmage. That really helps your average at the end of the year! I was punting the ball well that season, but that punt helped me out a lot.”

After an All-American career at Arkansas, Steve was drafted in the NFL by the Cleveland Browns. He was a fifth round pick by the Browns. “I was their (Browns) third pick. It was a first day pick, but there again, I was lucky to be drafted. I just wanted the opportunity to play. I remember just always wanting a chance to play. I would have paid them to let me play. We didn’t make the kind of money back then that guys are making today. But I didn’t care. I just wanted a chance to play. Here was a guy that grew up pushing his lawn mower and gas can around Charleston. I made about $20 a week mowing yards, and I thought that was good. When you started hauling hay you might make $50 – $75 per week, and that was pretty big. Then I washed pots and pans up at Fort Chaffee and I think my paycheck was $83 a week.”

As a member of the Cleveland Browns, Steve kicked a 60 yard field goal at Riverfront Stadium against the Cincinnatti Bengals. The 35th anniversary of that kick just passed last month. At the time of the kick, Steve Cox, and a childhood acquaintance of his that he met in the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition, Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints, owned the NFL records for the longest and second longest field goals in NFL history. Dempsey, as a kicker for the Saints, kicked a 63 yard field goal against the Detroit Lions. On November 8, 1970, with Saints holder Joe Scarpati holding for Dempsey, and kicking from his own 37 yard line, Dempsey kicked a record field goal that still stands today as the longest field goal ever kicked. The record is now shared by Dempsey and a few modern era kickers. Dempsey kicked the record field goal in Tulane Stadium, the same stadium in which Steve Cox participated in the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition, wearing a New Orleans Saints replica uniform at age 11. During the competition, Steve had the opportunity to meet Dempsey. Once again, a football field became a crossroads of destiny. The old Tulane Stadium has been torn down, but Cox’s memories of the meeting remain. Below is a picture of Steve at age 11 when he met Tom Dempsey.

Steve Cox, Age 11, with New Orleans Saints Recording-Holding Kicker Tom Dempsey (on far right). Photo published with permission from Steve Cox

Steve stays in contact with many of his friends and community members in Charleston. Recently, a friend contacted him to remind him of the 35th anniversary of the 60 yard kick in Cincinnati. “It’s just really neat when someone you grew up with texts you, and says that. That’s what it’s all about. Her name is Sheila Bird and she married David Humphries. I remember when her parents drove with my parents to Tulsa to see me play a football game. That’s Charleston. There were so many people who were supportive and in your corner. They were interested and had stock in what you were doing. They had ownership. I could have never accomplished a tenth of what I did without all of those experiences. It’s just so vivid in my memory.”

After kicking with Cleveland, Steve later kicked for the Washington Redskins. “I was released. Marty Schottenheimer (Head coach of the Browns), after four years playing at Cleveland, we had a coaching change. Marty wanted a different kicker, he wanted to go a different direction, and as heart-broken as I was to get released by the Browns, it was probably one of the best things that happened to me. It’s a shock to your system (to be released). It’s just the life of a punter or a kicker in that league. It’s just going to happen.”

The change of teams was a fresh start for Steve. “They (the Redskins) called me and picked me up off waivers. Who would have known that I would get a Super Bowl ring?”

About three years after he was acquired from waivers by Washington, Steve encountered a stretch where he struggled with his punting. At one point, head coach Joe Gibbs talked to Steve about his slump. Steve was told by Coach Gibbs that if things did not improve, they were going to bring in another punter. Steve remembers that day, and he also remembers someone whom he trusted and called upon to help him out of his slump. “The year of the Super Bowl, the first three games of the season I was leading the NFL. Then the league went on strike. When we came back from the strike, I fell into a slump. I remember that I was really struggling. Coach Gibbs came and talked to me and said, ‘Listen, Steve. You’ve got to start doing better or we’re going to start bringing in some other people to look at replacing you.’ I said, ‘Coach, would you mind if we flew my father up here to work with me?’ Coach Gibbs said, ‘You get him up here on the next flight.’ My father flew to Washington, DC to work with me for two days, and I got out of that slump, and that was the year we won the Super Bowl. He took the time to travel up there and go out on that practice field and work with me. There was something about the way he could climb inside my mind and he knew my habits; my good habits and my bad habits, and little things. That Monday night we played against the Rams, and I called him the next day, and he said, ‘Boy, Bud (he called me Bud), those first three punts you were right on point, but the last two you were starting to fall just a little bit back into the old habit.’ He could watch me and critique me and get me back on the right path. I trusted him.”

Steve added that everyone becomes a kicking coach when the kicker is in a slump: players, coaches, fans…everyone. “But my dad could tell me something and I’d listen.”

Steve credits his father for his entire career. “None of this was possible without my dad giving of his time.” Mr. Cox’s giving to Steve of his time, his interest, love, and devotion to Steve to see him have a chance to succeed at the highest levels, means more to Steve than most people will ever know. A devotion to Steve that carried him all the way to the Super Bowl. To this day, Steve, and his mother, Mrs. Ruby Cox, who now resides in Jonesboro, rarely miss a day talking about Steve’s dad. “He (Mr. Cox) is very much remembered by us; we still talk about dad when I go by to visit my mother.”

Steve has vivid memories of that day when he and the Washington Redskins played in Super Bowl XXII. “I remember that day. Warming up at the Super Bowl is different because everybody (fans) gets there way early. So, they watch warm-ups. Every warm-up kick is like a game kick. They are booing or yelling at you. But I remember standing, I was the first player out, kickers, punters, and deep snappers are the first players out ( of the locker room for pre-game warm-up) and I remember being the first player down the ramp and standing at the end of the ramp before we took the field, and I looked up and the scoreboard was so large, and there was a picture of me on the scoreboard. And then I looked up there was every stat I ever had. Then at the bottom, it said University of Arkansas, and then it said, Home Town, Charleston, Arkansas.

Banner Held Up By Steve’s Parents at the Super Bowl, Signed by Charleston Residents (photo provided by and published with permission of Steve Cox)

So, you talk about it being emotional. Then I run out onto the field, and my parents are already there. A group of my friends made a big sign out of cloth that said Steve Cox, Charleston, Arkansas, and my parents were holding it up. It was probably 8 x 10 or something. They had good seats right behind our bench and I could see them up there. So, all the sudden, I’m almost teary-eyed thinking about how I got there. All those kicks up at Alumni Field, and all of those balls that my dad chased, and I have a vivid memory of Shane Storey coming up there (to Alumni Field) and catching them.”

Steve Cox, Washington Redskins (Published with Permission From Steve Cox)

With all of Steve’s successes, he has never lost the perspective of remembering his roots and the people who helped him succeed. “When you set your goals, don’t ever take your eye of the goal, but never forget either where you have been and where you come from. All of those things that happened to me were the reasons why I got there. It’s’ really something to walk out there (at the Super Bowl) and see your name up on the scoreboard and the name of your hometown, Charleston, Arkansas. Then to walk out there and see your parents holding a banner from Charleston. Those things don’t just happen. I can promise you that if my parents don’t make that move over there (to Charleston), I am probably not (having enjoyed the successes that he did).”

Steve and his family are originally from Shreveport, Louisiana. His dad worked for ARKLA Gas Company. Before Steve’s sixth grade year, his dad received a promotion at ARKLA and the family relocated to Ozark. His mother finished her college degree and took a job in Fort Smith. It then became a closer commute from Charleston than if the family had remained in Ozark. So, Steve and his family moved to Charleston, Arkansas. Steve credits the move to Charleston as being the best thing that happened to him, and his dad’s consistent and unwavering support of his efforts to become a great kicker. “All of these things played a big role.”

Steve will tell you that the only difference between his career and playing experiences and that of Ty Storey are that he was lucky and fortunate, and so far, Ty has not had the benefit of such fortunate circumstances. “All of those good breaks that I was the beneficiary of, I’m not sure that Ty got those good breaks. I really often wonder what could have happened to Ty if had been a little more developed or brought along in the process more. I don’t know if he was always handled in the best interest of the program or Ty (at Arkansas). I can’t question that because I was not there. I just don’t know the kind of breaks that he got. I don’t think he was always the beneficiary of a lot of good breaks. That’s just my opinion. And here was a guy that was recruited by Alabama; this guy was a big league, high school superstar. He came out of high school with a lot of attention. I probably didn’t have that. Ty earned everything he got and probably should have gotten more. One thing for sure, Ty Storey and I have a lot in common, a lot more than people think. And after this game (the Arkansas vs. Western Kentucky game at Razorback Stadium), we will have one more thing in common. We will have both entered Razorback Stadium from both locker rooms. Not many people can say that. I can only imagine what emotions will be running through his heart, gut, and mind. What he will feel, and what his family will feel; I’ve been there. My parents have been there.”

Ty was recruited heavily by several power five schools, but he chose Arkansas. He chose Arkansas at a time when the program wasn’t doing well. Ty was a rare top recruit at the time in the Arkansas program that had his high school credentials and signed to play with the Razorbacks. I asked Steve for his opinion about why such a heralded high school quarterback did not see much playing time early in his tenure at Arkansas. “I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there, but I just thought that maybe if he had been given opportunities sooner, in small doses, it would have brought him along. Coming from high school to college, even as a kicker, was just crazy. To see the speed and the different talent that you had, and the pressure on you was immense. Imagine what it would be like when you have to know what ten other guys are doing, and the 11 other guys on opposing defenses. Coming out of high school, going to that level, it is mind-boggling. I threw four fake punts in the pros, and I can never remember seeing my receivers. I’m 6’4″, and I’m 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage; I just threw to a spot. They were all completed, but I never saw my receiver. Now, can you imagine taking 3, 5, and 7 step drops, being that close to the line of scrimmage, and having to know what that defense is doing?”

Steve has very fond feelings for Ty, his family, and the difficult times they have been through. “I have so much respect, and so much admiration Ty and his family. To have gone through what he has gone through and never have you heard one bad word or comment come out of his mouth, about anything or anybody. He’s positive, he’s uplifting, and I promise you, I don’t know what the future holds for Ty Storey, but I know one thing, he will be successful. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind. He will carry things with him that he earned and gained in Charleston, Arkansas. They will be with him forever.”

Steve and Ty never talked when Ty was considering transferring from Arkansas. “I would stay in touch; I talked to Shane every once in a while, I’ll call or ask, always interested, but I wasn’t like a prying guy. I would always talk with Mark Bowen, my buddy, he still lives in Charleston. Ty wants to play; every player wants to play. Every player wants an opportunity. You just didn’t get the feeling that was happening.”

Ty entered the NCAA transfer portal in the Spring of 2018 and eventually transferred to Western Kentucky University. “Ty is flat out a winner. His attitude is unbelievable. His work ethic is unbelievable. His desire to succeed, play, and be good at it, to be the best he can be at his craft; you can just see it in everything the kid does. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that he is 4 or 5-0 (playing record at Western Kentucky as of October 25). He will have every incentive in the world to do well in Fayetteville.”

On November 9, Ty Storey returns to Razorback Stadium as quarterback of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and will play against his former team, the Arkansas Razorbacks. On that day I will be there to photograph Ty and get his thoughts on his experience of returning to Razorbacks Stadium. And Steve Cox will be there. I asked Steve what emotions he will have seeing another Charleston great return to Razorback Stadium playing against the Razorbacks, just as he did 43 years ago. “I’m just going to tell him (Ty) that I’ve been where you are today. I wish you good fortune and good luck. I’m a Razorbacks fan, I’m an ex-Razorback. I want the Hogs to win every time they go out. But I also want my friend (Shane Storey, Ty’s father), and my friend’s son, to do well and have a great experience. I want them to have a great experience and something to remember. I hope Ty has a great day, but I want Arkansas to win. But I certainly want Ty Storey to have a great day and a day he will remember. Because I remember how special that was to me. I’ve looked at my parents when they were dressed in red, and I have looked at them in that stadium when they were dressed in blue and gold. I’ve been both places, just like him. So, I would tell him, I know what you are feeling and what you are going through. And I wish you the best today, my friend.”

I want to publicly thank my friend, Steve Cox, for his generosity of the information he provided for this article and for all of the hours he has spent with me telling his story. Steve’s story is a historical reference to Ty’s upcoming game in Fayetteville. But perhaps more importantly, Steve’s story is a tribute to the people of Charleston. Thank you, my friend.

Tomorrow, in part three of “Ty’s Story”, Ty tells his story about his time with the Razorbacks and someone very special in the Charleston community who means a lot to Ty and whom Ty respects and admires.

You will not want to miss this memorable segment of “Ty’s Story.”

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Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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